New Delhi: Host nation India faced their second defeat at the 2017 Fifa Under-17 World Cup as they lost to Colombia 2-1 in their second group stage fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday. Juan Penaloza scored a brace for the visitors, while Jeakson Singh bagged a historic goal for India.
India’s moment of the night would come on the stroke of the 82nd minute, as the tall Manipuri midfielder Jeakson would head a Sanjeev Stalin corner home to give the home team their first-ever World Cup goal as the JLN stadium erupted, in anticipation of a point.
In an anti-climax though, the South Americans hit back less than a minute later as Penaloza capitalised on a loose ball in the box to give Colombia a lead as the match finished 2-1.
India started with four changes to the line-up that lost 3-0 to the United States with Jeakson, Rahim Ali, Boris Singh Thangjam and Namit Deshpande replacing Suresh Singh Wangjam, Aniket Jadhav, Komal Thatal and Jitendra Singh for this crucial match.
The home team started much more positively as compared to their game against the US as Jeakson and Anwar ensured that the bolt remained shut for most of the first half. Anwar, in particular, was outstanding in the center of the defence as he thwarted the South Americans’ attack time and again.
Most of Colombia’s attacks were, as expected, coming in through the right flank as the midfield passed the ball to their highly-rated Jaminton Campaz but the no. 7 couldn’t break through as Boris Singh stuck close to him.
The home team had their first real chance, when Boris’ pass close to goal saw Abhijit Sarkar in an advanced position. The no 10 dribbled past two defenders, but then shot straight at goalkeeper Kevin Mier, earning India a corner.
Colombia had their chances too as Dheeraj had to make a couple of smart saves to keep the scoreline to 0-0. Rahul KP had the best chance of the opening period as Boris running in from the right, slid the ball to the Kerala boy, only for the former’s effort to crash off the post, as India were kept waiting for their first goal, going 0-0 into the half time.
The South Americans ended the half on a high, as they fought to take the lead. Juan Penaloza’s moment of brilliance then gave them the lead as he cut in, beat a defender and curled it into the left corner of the goal to give the South Americans a lead early in the second half.
After an end-to-end finish that saw Dheeraj make a fanstastic save in the dying minutes, it finished as 2-1 in favour of the South Americans. India have lost both their matches and only have a minimal chance of progressing through to the knockouts after USA won their second match against Ghana to qualify.